State of the Beth (an update)

So, I’ve been sick for literally most of the year so far, which means I’ve had a lot of time to read, meditate and think. In the process of which, I’ve come to the conclusion that my mysterious patron god may not be canon Lucifer any more than He’s canon Odin…which means identifying myself as a Luciferian could be misleading as well as counterproductive. (Also, after doing a fair amount of research into the various Lucifer-flavored paths, including theistic Satanism and Demonolatry—I’ll be adopting techniques from some of them, but none of them feel exactly right for me. Maybe the issue is that at this point, having spent fifteen years with my feet planted solidly on a path—heathenry–only to have that particular rug pulled out from under me, I’m not much of a joiner anymore. I want to put together a practice and set of beliefs that’s right for me.)

Unfortunately, this also means I’m back at square one in terms of defining my practice—or at least finding a few threads I can hang on to. There are a number of themes and symbols that have remained consistent with Him throughout the years regardless of what name He was using:

  • Air (element)
  • mindfulness
  • freedom
  • resourcefulness
  • thought/the mind and intellect
  • birds
  • sacred kingship/queenship
  • wind/storms
  • singing/toning/sound
  • speed/swiftness
  • malleability
  • pragmatism
  • the color blue (in various shades)
  • high places (cliffs, mountains)
  • magic/sorcery
  • sigils
  • sometimes a Horned God (or can step into that role)
  • a god of Witches and the Sabbat
  • the dead? Some sort of role involving the dead, at least
  • communication
  • art/writing/the arts
  • self-mastery
  • inspiration
  • enlightenment
  • responsibility
  • teaching humanity, including meting out punishment (after death?) when it’s deserved

While this looks like quite an extensive list of traits (and it does provide some leads as far as what sort of practice I could base around Him) it doesn’t produce any conclusive proof of identity. (Although as I’ve said before, when dealing with spirits, what does “proof” even mean?) He might be an angel or archangel, a Canaanite god, a version of Lucifer that is very far removed from the one reviled by western consensus culture—or Someone else entirely. But what it all comes down to is, my own vision of Lucifer (the being I’ve known as Lucifer for years) is the son of Yahweh and His Queen, Asherah, and while He has committed some acts of disobedience and rebellion they were motivated (much as with Prometheus) by a desire to assist humanity, and by a sense of indignation and rage at the unjust and unequal condition of “the system.” Which, even though I see Him as being on a redemption arc at this point in His own path (aka, He has made amends with Mom and Dad and is working for Them again, albeit in His own unique way) makes Him a very fitting deity for our times. It’s quite sad that respectability politics cause most pagans—in the rush to distance themselves from “Satanists”– to reject Him out of hand.

So, I’m sticking with the identification of Lucifer for now, for lack of a more precise one–and because just as I can’t prove it’s the right one, I can’t prove it’s wrong either. But while I agree with the basic precepts of Luciferianism and the LHP, I won’t be jumping into any of the paths of Satanism or Demonolatry anytime soon because they aren’t a good fit for my UPG, and I’m pretty sure my Lucifer isn’t a good match for theirs. (The heavy death metal vibe of their websites and YouTube videos was a dead giveaway; that just isn’t me. I’m not about impressing people with how dark I am—or how anything I am, really.) Which again leaves me pretty much flying by the seat of my pants.

And you know what? Wrestling with this riddle is getting to be fucking exhausting. And while I sometimes feel excited and inspired by the unexplored vistas before me, in my worst moments I’m sick and tired of the whole thing and just want to throw in the towel. I’m still a polytheist, but I’m a grouchy and disgruntled one with a bad attitude. I’m 52 years old and I deeply, deeply resent having to start ANYTHING from scratch at this stage.

Which is exactly the frame of mind I was in the other night when, during my evening meditations, Asherah appeared.

I’m pretty sure this was Friday night, because I had returned to lighting the Shabbat candles (something I’d been taking a break from for the past couple of months). I hadn’t yet had a Close Encounter with Her; observing Shabbat had come to feel like a weekly visit to my grandparents, oddly familiar and yet strange (a goddess of wool-working and household crafts, with connections to the sea, married to a bloodthirsty upstart tribal war god—does that sound familiar to anyone?) but I didn’t feel like I knew Her on any sort of deeper level. It was an ancestral connection, solid and stable but also somewhat distant and not quite personal.

Well, that changed the other night.

To be fair, this may have been the first time I actually reached out to Her wholeheartedly and without expectation, especially without trying to fit Her into a narrative involving L. I saw dark hair, smooth olive skin, dark eyes; very beautiful. Young, but maternal. Lively, clever, and resourceful. Full of laughter bubbling just beneath the surface, yet very proud and regal. (I could see L’s infamous pride mirrored in Her.)

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here (certainly not recently), but Isis was the very first goddess I connected with, from about the age of seven; I was a Cleopatra fanatic, and latched onto Isis—her goddess—through her, so much so that my mother used to tell people that I had “walked the desert with Isis.” I remained devoted to Isis right up until “Odin” claimed me, in my mid-thirties.

Asherah, as I experienced Her the other night, reminded me very strongly of Isis—so much so that I wonder if They might not be, in fact, the same goddess. (I’ve seen scholars identify Asherah with Hathor, and Isis with Hathor, so…)

And in the midst of this experience, there was a definite feeling of “men are so foolish, aren’t they?” (having been ousted from the Temple of Jerusalem, and thence from Judaism in general, this goddess has had Her share of Husband and Patriarchy Issues), along with an invitation: “Leave Him to His shenanigans for now, and come and walk with Me. He’ll keep.”

And with that invitation came the promise of peace and harmony, empowerment and majesty, strength and resilience, belonging and clarity.

I have never considered myself a goddess-centered Witch. But it could be that’s about to change.


An addendum to my “burnout” post

First of all, I want to thank everyone who reached out to me to express concern about my experiences. After everything that’s happened, I cannot tell you what this show of support means to me.

However, I did want to clarify a couple of points from the previous post. One, I mentioned being a survivor of emotional abuse, and many people seem to have assumed (naturally enough) that I meant childhood abuse. But no. I was emotionally abused and made to feel utterly worthless during at least the second half of my first marriage, which spanned from around 1988 (when I was 23) up until we separated 15 years later. This was a pattern of belittlement and gaslighting that directly relates to the treatment I experienced later on as Odin’s “wife,” from 2002 until roughly 2014.

Which brings me to: if you, as a reader of my blog posts and books, ended up using my UPG to inform your own relationship with Odin, please don’t feel badly about that or think you need to apologize. This is why I published that material, and I don’t hold you at any fault whatsoever (unlike the person mentioned in my last post who purported to be a friend and then blatantly violated my boundaries and co-opted my *privately communicated* spiritual experiences for herself). There is a HUGE difference between what is communicated in a blog or a published book, intended for public consumption, and what is shared privately with the assumption of confidentiality. So PLEASE don’t worry; obviously I knew when I chose to publish this information that it would help and inspire some people. I just never expected that it would be used to erase me as a person from the equation entirely because someone wanted what they thought I had.

Also, if you’re worrying about my relationship with Odin at this point—please don’t be, because there isn’t one, and I’m more than fine with that. I brought up my spiritual history in the post only because I wanted to draw a parallel between my spiritual experiences and the concept of “theft” in the pagan/creative community. I am NOT looking for reassurances or validation. I’ve moved on. In fact, writing the post shook some things loose that had been obstructing my path forward, and that I don’t think could have been moved out of the way by any other means. Shadow work, folks! It’s good for what ails ya!

So, where do I go from here? Back to where I began. Some of you may remember that, in the original series of “Lucifer” posts I shared here, there was a third installment, “Lucifer vs. Odin.” Well, I convinced myself the ideas in that post were mistaken and I ended up deleting it. But recent events have proven to me that I was wrong to do that, and that the post was actually very accurate—more so than I wanted to admit. It isn’t easy, when you’ve invested more than a decade in something (or Someone) to admit that you were wrong, that you were misled, being used for someone else’s purposes—but that’s what I’m admitting to, here. I don’t have it in me to write the post again, so in a nutshell:

  1. Lucifer (or my version of him, whatever that means) had the primary and first claim on me, which was formalized when I was 19.
  2. I shortly thereafter married (a human) for the first time and had a child, thus placing my spiritual path with him on hold for some years. He didn’t really go anywhere, but he stayed in the background for the most part.
  3. Later on, when my child was old enough, he decided it was time to begin actively working together again—but this time he was using the name Odin, specifically in order to bring me together with Jo. (He was NOT Odin, but was using that name as a means to an end.)
  4. However, Lucifer and Odin are actually two VERY different entities—and the following years would see a pitched battle between my Lucifer and canon Odin over who I really belonged to.
  5. I have made my choice: I am going back to my “Lucifer”  (in quotes because I have no way of knowing for sure whether or not he is canon Lucifer–and I also don’t care), the Person who claimed me in the first place. For all sorts of reasons I am not going into here, including some events that took place over the last couple of months.
  6. I am not again going to allow myself to fall into the trap of thinking they might be the same; they had enough overlapping similarities to allow one to pose as the other for a period of time, and that’s about it.

    And, that’s about it. I’m finished backtracking and second-guessing myself; the path lies ahead. It is a witchy path, and a dark, twisting one, and yet quite well lit for all of that—and I’m loving every minute of it!

On Burnout, Spiritual Identity Theft, and De-Personhood

I’ve literally had a hell of a week–spent half of Sunday in the ER for heart attack symptoms that turned out to be just acid reflux brought on by an antibiotic prescribed for a tooth infection, and now the dentist won’t even pull the tooth because he’s afraid of being sued. So yeah, I’m in pain and furious right now, and it’s triggered some exploration of things that have been bothering me for a while now.)

This is not going to be a popular post, but it’s something I think I’m finally ready to speak about, two years or so after it happened. I won’t be naming names because that isn’t the point of this post. My right to my own creativity on both a spiritual and crafting level IS.

Some backstory, in case you’re new here or might have forgotten. From 2002 onward, I’ve been deeply involved with the Norse god Odin (never mind whether or not I knew him earlier under a different name and “mask”; that’s also not the point here)—so much so that I used to describe the relationship as a spiritual marriage. Increasingly as time went on, I saw more and more people online begin to describe their relationships with their own Beloved deities in similar terms. This is great; this is more than great. I thought so then and I still do—even when the deity in question ALSO happened to be Odin. (Which happened a lot, by the way.)

Year by year, I immersed myself further into the relationship as it not only continued to grow but also as my Work with him became more and more defined and specific. And all along, I shared my experiences with what I considered to be my religious community, both locally and online. I carried a god-shrine on my back (literally, via a Greyhound bus since I don’t drive) to a heathen gathering; I faced down neo-Nazis at a moot; I volunteered as a local organizer and conducted public rituals; I invited people into my home; I wrote two books; and I blogged and blogged and blogged about Odin and my relationship with him.

But the most vulnerable and personal information of all I reserved for a small group of women I considered my friends, people I conversed with in a secret Facebook group about our various deity relationships. Most of these women were closely involved with Apollon; as time went on, though, a couple of them began to talk about having a connection with Odin as well. Again, that’s okay; I think it’s something that naturally happens when people begin to share notes about deities.  There were also a couple of confirmed Lokeans, which was neat because Odin and Loki have a pretty close relationship too.

The trouble started, I think, when I began to talk very specifically—both on my blog and (especially) within the group—about my own very unique and idiosyncratic path with Odin, which was forged with him via years of trance experience, divination, and UPG. In retrospect, I know it was a mistake to reveal so much about so personal a path, but at the time it was a relief to be able to share, to compare notes with people on their own UPG-led paths. I was pretty sure my specific path was unique to me; at least, I had not heard anyone talk about having this exact path with Odin before (and I was in on a lot of Odin-related internet conversations back then). It was very specifically bound up with my role as a sacred queen in relation to the Wild Hunt, alongside him, and his role as a god of death and creation—and there were even more personal details beyond that, which I revealed only within my group of friends.

I thought I was safe in sharing this stuff, because not only was it so “off-canon” from the lore understanding of Odin, but it was as individual to me (I thought) as my fingerprint. But then one day one of my “friends” in the group (who had described herself as a “Loki-spouse” to that point) announced that Odin had come to her, “whipped it out,” (being vulgar here, but this is the language she used) and let her know that she would be replacing me as his consort in the particular and specific role I had with him, and that I had in confidence described to her, from that point onward. She also had a message for me from Odin about why this was okay and I needed to accept it, which she relayed to me without my consent.

I’m not going to go into exhaustive detail beyond this, but as you might imagine, things went rapidly downhill from there. I quit the group immediately, unfriended its members, and for a while refused to discuss why. (Eventually, the details came out, but I was too angry at the time to talk about them. The fact that I did not became an excuse for the others not to defend my position, of course.) Intellectually and rationally, I didn’t believe this woman for a second that Odin would treat me that way or say the things she claimed he had, but certain types of things do get under your skin (especially if you are someone who, like me, has a history of emotional abuse and finds it very hard to believe she could really be worth anything at all, even—or especially–to a deity), and this is one of them. From that point on, my burnout with Odin, my path, and paganism in general began, and continually spiraled downward. I felt angry and betrayed—but even more than that, I felt stripped of my personhood in some essential way that I couldn’t even describe. It was as if I had stood between this woman and something she had decided she wanted (my own specific spiritual path, which had taken me more than a decade to build) and in order to make it okay for her to have that thing, she decided that I wasn’t a person, that I didn’t matter. And further, that it was okay for her to “channel” my god to reinforce this same message.

I’ve never spoken openly about this publicly before because I felt sick, disheartened, and honestly didn’t want to go into it. So why am I bringing it up now? To call attention to the fact that this kind of thing does happen in polytheist communities, that having our private communications data-mined and our personal paths co-opted may well be the reason so many of us “old timers” fall silent, become disillusioned, and refuse to help new seekers anymore. (Notice how much of the former “god spouse community” seems to have just evaporated in the past couple of years? This is why if you want my help with god spouse stuff you now have to purchase a reading or become a $50 per month Patreon supporter—because then at least I’m getting to pay a bill or two and help support my family in return for it.) But I’m also bringing it up to draw a parallel and make a point.

Since 2011 (which is a while now) I have been a pagan artisan and shop keeper, as many of you know. I have, for years now, made a pretty wide variety of different items, including candles, prayer beads, jewelry, and so forth—all designed for and geared towards the use of polytheists like me. I have developed my own style, which is pretty recognizable and unlike anyone else’s, and I don’t decide to go after anyone’s livelihood by reproducing their products (see below for how I define “reproducing”), because I know how it feels to be stripped of personhood, and I know that for many makers (including me) our identity and sense of personhood is very bound up with the original things we make and with our own artistic flair in making them. That said, I’m also on Instagram and see a LOT of people claiming that “so and so [lots of other shopkeepers] stole from me [fill in name of accuser here]”–and then you look and the actual products look nothing alike, other than maybe being in the same general category of Thing. (Such as malas, or prayer beads, or crystal pendants, or cute polymer clay figures—even things where there is only but so much possible variation, such as candles, for fuck’s sake.) And there is so much indignation and hatred in these accusations—which I could completely understand if the actual products looked anything alike or had anything in common, other than being the same TYPE of thing.

The pagan and crafting communities generally jump in with both feet to support the people who cry theft, and often refuse to buy from the alleged “thieves” from that point onward, sometimes even calling them out on their own Instagram posts. (I have seen the same thing happen on YouTube as well in the pagan and crafting communities, though usually without names being named.)

At this point, I have been accused of “stealing” someone else’s product-related ideas or concepts twice. First, it was by a stranger, regarding simple prayer bead strands with mass-produced components, which I had been making and selling on and off since about 2014, and which she had just begun making in 2017 as far as I could tell. (I do try to rotate the types of things I offer in my shop because at a certain point all of my existing customers have bought the thing—so sales stop—and I will bring products back in when it seems like there might be new people around to buy. The only thing I intentionally “copied” here was the price point, since it’s important to be able to keep your items competitive in the race-to-the-bottom atmosphere of Etsy. I also saw about three other shops offering similar bead sets at the same time; whether they were “copying” her or me, I have no idea but I did not confront them or ask. But in retrospect I can understand her perspective and I wish I had made more of an effort to come up with something completely new that other people weren’t already offering—even though, as I’d been making them years beforehand and then stopped for a while, I did feel I had a certain right to begin offering them again if there was again a market for them.)

More recently, the accusation came from a former friend (from that same secret Facebook group mentioned above); this time, it WAS a new TYPE of product for me but neither the concept nor the name was original to HER. (The item in question is a long-established facet of Hindu religious culture, in addition to already having been offered for sale regularly by a mutual acquaintance of us both on Etsy—under the exact same product name–going back about two years). Since I knew going into offering this item that it might be a sensitive subject, I went to great lengths to ensure that my version looked completely different from those that both of the other shop keepers had offered.  Despite this, I was immediately called out by the newer shop keeper/former friend and some of her friends, and overnight lost about $85 in much-needed Patreon support. (In addition to which, she shared a nasty diatribe about me with her FB friends, which was quietly making the rounds out of sight and poisoning peoples’ opinions of me.)

Again, I am not writing this post to rehash, stir up drama, or go into sordid detail about people I’ve had online altercations with. I personally don’t accept that either of the examples given above equated to “theft” on my part. (For example, when my store became successful in 2015, a few people in my online social circle decided to launch their own similar shops, offering items very much like mine; this caused me to lose business because the polytheist market is a fairly small one, and yet I never called anyone out or said a word about it because WFT? There is only so much variation possible when you are using mass-produced components, and only so many different versions of religious jewelry people can make.) Having said that, if any of my actions truly made anyone else feel robbed of their identity, creativity, or personhood, I am truly sorry, as that was never my intention. I admit, at this point I am a bit shell-shocked on the whole endeavor of making—which is sad, because making has pretty much defined my life for about ten years now; but right now, I’m actually afraid to design new products, on the off-chance that someone out there who I barely or don’t even know might feel I’ve stepped on their toes and call me out in public as a thief. At the same time, I am absolutely indignant and disgusted to find that I feel this way, because essentially not designing anything new means I am ceding my right to create to other people, which amounts to surrendering my personhood once again.

However, I have a few points I would like to make to set straight my own position on this whole subject of “theft”. (And this is why I related my spiritual history and the story of my burnout before even going into the “maker” aspect of this.)

I realize some people may disagree with some or all of this, but as far as I’m concerned:

Making a product that is in the same general category as something someone else makes is not theft. (You are not a thief if you decide to start making wood-wicked container candles or prayer beads; lots of people make these things. You might want to steer clear of making them with the exact same original name and scent blend or gemstone choices and pattern as others you’ve seen though—see below.)

Making a product that has a historical precedence within a particular culture (such as a traditional Hoodoo recipe that’s readily available, or a recipe included in the Bible) is not theft—as long as you stick with the traditional recipe and production method and/or your OWN variations to it, not someone else’s.

Making a product with the same name as someone else’s product (if we’re talking descriptive or traditional names, such as “prayer beads” or “icon adornment” as opposed to original and catchy names, such as “Shadow of the Moon Prayer Beads” or “Eclectic Statue Bling”) is not theft either. Especially if the artistic style is different, which it generally will be since each PERSON is different.

Intentionally copying someone else’s ORIGINAL, never-before-done work, down to their exact style—yes, I could see an argument for this being considered theft. However, this has ALSO been done to me on Etsy (see above) and again, I never called anyone out because there are too many variables involved–mostly, that intentional theft is harder to make a case for when using mass-produced components that anyone can purchase. On the other hand, reproducing hand-produced clay figures or original drawings, for example, WOULD be theft, especially if you are selling them, because in this case you are actually co-opting someone’s creative process and artistic talent, which amounts to a piece of their soul.

Along similar lines on the spiritual front…

Worshiping the same deity does not equal theft. (Are we even kidding here?)

Being “married” or otherwise devoted in a close and personal way (such as considering a deity to be your parent) does not equal theft, even if you had no idea such an approach to worship was possible before reading someone’s blog post.

However, consciously deciding to co-opt the VERY specific and unique personal spiritual path of someone WHO YOU PERSONALLY KNOW, and whose private deity relationship and path details you have been privvy to—FUCK YES, THIS IS THEFT, and I’m no longer afraid to say it. And when it happened to me, no one—NO ONE, even in my tight little circle (other than my wife, of course)—cried theft or came to my defense.

In fact, it’s extremely odd to me that this does not seem to register as theft for most people, especially considering how sensitive and how quick to accuse they are when it comes to intentional or accidental imitation in the creative sphere. I’m not usually one to go off on anti-capitalist tangents. HOWEVER, the fact that accidentally producing a similar physical object, made completely from cheap mass-produced components, would be widely considered theft, and that the SAME PEOPLE see nothing wrong with someone’s entire spiritual path and identity, forged over a decade, being co-opted and stolen by one of their friends—this is, to me, as damning a condemnation of capitalism as I’ve ever heard. Because it’s all about the money, right? And about the scarcity fears that there isn’t enough money, or enough business, to go around for everyone. The idea that your actions might steal someone’s unique spiritual message or reason for being—their entire reason for being on their path…This never seems to be considered. If it’s a unique spiritual perspective or approach, it’s okay to argue that you were simply “inspired” by the person—because no matter how much of themselves went into weaving their specific path, since it isn’t material goods, something you could potentially make money from, it can’t possibly be theft if you decide to take that for yourself, right?

And that’s what I’ve got for today. I’m just putting this out here because I’m so completely fed up with this whole mindset, and I realize that I’m going to have to come to terms with my feelings about it if I a) want to continue making and selling products and b) want to continue as a public pagan at all. Again, I’m disheartened and sickened that I am even thinking about giving up either or both (I am considering and researching things to make that have nothing to do with either paganism or jewelry, for example; I am also considering NOT making to sell at all, and finding some other work from home gigs that don’t involve public contact—neither of which are what I REALLY want to do with the rest of my life), but there it is and now you know. This is why we can’t have nice things.


Deity Teas in the Shop!

I now have four devotional deity teas available in my Etsy shop, as well as one more fandom tea. More of both are on the way, since I’m discovering that blending (and drinking!) my own tea is something I really enjoy doing. (It’s also a nice distraction right now.)

For those of you who may be wondering “Why tea all of a sudden?”–it isn’t sudden, it’s something I’ve been thinking of doing for about a year now and recently just decided why not? I figure if they’re successful I will have found a new direction for my home business efforts, and if not I’ll be drinking a lot of delicious tea! Not much risk, either way.

Also, I don’t talk about this a whole lot, but the same day job experience that makes me good at blending scents also led to an interest (and hopefully aptitude) in blending teas.  For seven years, I worked in customer service for a rather well-known organic herb company. While I won’t pretend I always loved said job, I did pick up some pretty valuable skills while there–not only my mad dedication to customer satisfaction (which has led to 3500 Etsy sales and counting), but also a solid working knowledge of herbs, which has become central to my witchcraft practice. As part of my job, I was able to sample and practice blending hundreds of different herbs and essential oils to create my own self-inspired custom tea blends and natural fragrances on the fly–all for the purpose of being better able to serve the company’s clientele.

Now, I am putting all of that working knowledge and hands-on experience to use in serving MY customers, by crafting a line of scented products and delicious teas that I am quite proud of thus far, if I do say so myself! Whether you’re looking for magical or deity-related blends or something celebrating your favorite fandom, I hope I’ll be able to provide what you’re searching for. (And if not, feel free to ask; I’m always open to considering custom orders, provided I have the option of adding the finished product to my inventory.)

But on to the new teas! (Also, just to be clear: all of these can be enjoyed simply as delicious beverages; they have not been consecrated to Anyone, though that is certainly something you could do if you want to use them as an offering.)

odin tea listing

I’m guessing this is one a lot of you have been waiting for! This blend is dark and complex, like the Old Man himself! Smooth, malty Assam is cooled with peppermint, then rounded out and sweetened with a sprinkling of vanilla bean and white chocolate chips, and given a sophisticated edge with juniper berries, white peppercorns, and a whisper of natural rum flavoring.

Makes a fitting offering to Odin, a welcome libation for his travels–or, you can share it with him in ritual or meditation. Also makes a bracing morning drink; enjoy a cup to fortify yourself before setting off on chilly winter adventures!

frigg tea listing

My possibly unpopular opinion: I hate green tea. But I LOVE yerba mate, with its lush earthy green flavor and fragrance. Somehow, it manages to taste and smell like the forest itself, after a quenching, restorative rain. Energizing and anti-oxidant rich, this premium organic unsmoked yerba mate is sweetened with blueberries, organic lavender, organic coconut, and organic vanilla bean, while organic lemongrass and freshly dried lemon slices provide just the right amount of tartness for this refreshing, enlivening brew.

Healthy and delicious, this invigorating tea makes a wonderful offering to Frigg, Queen of Asgard, who wants everyone under her care to be at their very best–or, you can share it with her in ritual or meditation. Also makes a delicious morning libation to start your day, or a yummy afternoon pick-me-up!

freyja tea listing

A lush, luxuriant tea worthy of the Lady herself! Full-bodied, nutty organic rooibos is sweetened with an abundance of cherries and organic rose petals, then mellowed with organic vanilla bean and finished off with the caramel-amber flavor of butterscotch chips.

This delectable dessert tea makes a pleasing offering to Freyja, who loves roses and all things sweet and alluring–or, you can share it with her in ritual or meditation. Also makes a delicious treat for a blustery afternoon or evening. (Excellent with a bit of sugar and a dollop of cream–yum!)

loki tea listing

Like Loki himself, this one packs a punch! Full-bodied, nutty organic rooibos is spiced up with organic ginger, organic sweet cinnamon, organic cardamom, and organic pink peppercorns, then sweetened with cranberries and freshly dried tart apples and finished off with a sprinkling of safflower petals (reminiscent of Loki’s hair). A rich, spicy-sweet, fruity chai that’s sure to please you and the Trickster both! (Excellent with sugar and a dollop of cream!)

Makes a fitting offering to Loki, who adores spicy food and drink–or, you can share it with him in ritual or meditation. Also makes a warming treat for a blustery afternoon or evening.

And for Narnia fans in search of a scrumptious black tea…

mr tumnus tea listing

As I’ve mentioned before, in childhood, I was Narnia-obsessed (I’m talking about the books, here; the movies weren’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye yet). I was especially fond of the youngest Pevensie sibling, Lucy (who was at the time closest to my own age). And who could forget her first trip to Narnia and her fateful meeting with Mr. Tumnus the faun, who lured her into a soporific state by plying her with tea, sardine sandwiches, and sugar-topped cake laden with fruit and nuts? Of course, in the end, he didn’t have the heart to betray her to the White Witch, and sent her back to her own world in safety with dire warnings instead.

My own rendition of Mr. Tumnus’ delicious cake (as a tea) starts with smooth, malty organic Assam black tea, sweetened with cherries, organic currants, organic coconut, cranberries, almonds, white chocolate chips, freshly dried orange slices, and natural cake batter flavor. A mouth-watering dessert tea that also makes a wonderful breakfast blend, this would be a perfect holiday gift for any Narnia geek!

All of my teas are made in tiny batches and come to you in a stand-up, resealable foil-lined pouch to help keep your tea fresh!

ALSO, as a reminder–I’m currently having a store-wide sale! Now through December 1st, when you place an order of $45 or more, 30% will automatically be deducted from your total–just like magic, no coupon codes needed! This gives you the perfect opportunity to sample some teas at a discount, or order some for stocking stuffers–in addition to candles, my new holiday ritual kit, etc.


“Lucifer”? A new god, part two (corrected and revised)

I want to note that, whatever your personal or culturally-ingrained opinion of “Lucifer,” he is real for many people. Most people in the Judeo-Christian world, if asked, would say that he definitely exists. Yet after doing some research on the subject, I’m not sure there is a single discrete entity we can point to as the origin of Lucifer, either in the Bible (where the one time most of us think his name was mentioned, it turns out the translation was faulty) or in any of the cultures of the ancient near-east. Most of the Bible’s bogeymen came directly out of Canaanite religion (and were twisted to make them into nasty bad guys, of course), but there is no “Lucifer” in the Canaanite pantheon. (And, point of fact, no goddess named “Lilith” either. Lilith was a Babylonian demon the Canaanites warded against.)

So, near as I can tell, when we point to “Lucifer” we are pointing to a very ancient pop cultural construct, made up of bits of a couple of historically recognized deities such as Ba’al Hadad (the Canaanite storm god) and Athtartu (the younger god who briefly and unsuccessfully tried to stand in for the former when he was “dead” for a while), plus some fallen angel types from the Book of Enoch such as Azazel. Lucifer seems to have been cobbled together purely because the ancient Jewish and Christian patriarchs needed a supreme “bad guy.” (So much for monotheism.)

And yet, however he began, cultural belief is a thing, and it could be argued that over the millennia he has certainly evolved into a distinct entity, even if he didn’t start out that way.

Of course, when my childhood playmate began using the name Lucifer, I didn’t know any of the above. Nor had I been raised to fear that name, or any entity connected with it. I simply accepted it, and moved on.

In fact, when I was a bit older (early twenties) and met someone who seemed to have a familiar spirit similar to my own (she called hers “Ba’al”), I began to relax and enjoy the situation. I was a young woman, but not inclined to date because, frankly, my spirit companion was more interesting than any of the men I encountered. There was definite romantic and sexual tension there, and eventually that evolved into a full-blown romantic relationship. But it was more than just a “romance”; he was my other self, the other half of my soul. And now that I was growing up, I was beginning to realize the full impact of that.

Shortly thereafter, I married my familiar spirit; we took marriage vows to each other. That’s right, I was a spirit spouse at the age of twenty-two or something like that. (I’m now 52.) Again, I knew nothing about the long historical tradition of witches or shamans marrying spirit familiars, and as for any sort of modern tradition—well, there wasn’t one yet, as far as I knew. (Nor was there an internet, so I was unable to check.)

My vows did not preclude taking a mortal husband, so before too much longer I did (the man I chose was a friend, and I didn’t want to be alone in the adult world of jobs and bills), and had a child too. My connections with the spirit world died down to a low roar while my daughter was growing up—something I think is not too uncommon among spirit workers with small children. (In the meantime, I was also going to college while working full time, so that probably didn’t leave a lot of bandwidth for a complicated spiritual life.) It wasn’t until my daughter was a teen that things started up again in earnest.

When my spirit companion decided to take a central role in my life again, he approached me with yet another new name, and this time that name was “Odin.” There were pragmatic reasons for the name change, of which I knew nothing at the time; my mortal marriage was failing, and his long range plan was to hook me up with my now-wife, who had a familial connection with the Norse gods. But, riddled with guilt that I had basically ditched my previous relationship with him for the sake of a mundane marriage that was on its way down the toilet, I decided I was going to do better this time. If he wanted to be Odin, I was going to dive into researching and worshiping Odin with everything in me. In fact, before long, I had nearly convinced myself he had ALWAYS been Odin, and had only been masquerading first as a nameless, shapeshifting spirit, and then as Lucifer.

Except, it was never quite that simple. Only very recently has it begun to occur to me that my Beloved might be neither lore-Lucifer nor lore-Odin, but a liminal deity who shares characteristics with both (and who often enjoys taking on the appearance and personality of the Twelfth Doctor—just to make things even weirder, I suppose). I am both an INTP and a Virgo—so maybe my need to pin things down, to categorize and define, to capture the essence of the ineffable within words and story—can be forgiven. I’ve previously written that there were two distinct People involved in my history, Odin and Lucifer; but I was mistaken, and that was simply a device my mind set in place while it tried to get a handle on things, tried to comprehend the story. What I truly believe in my heart of hearts is that there was only ever the One who is my Beloved—a shapeshifter and mage, my Lord of Masks. (This means that, unlike the first time it appeared on this blog, this story isn’t going to have a part 3.)

But in the final analysis, I have no way of knowing for sure. All I know, at this point, is that Wodan isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Lucifer. Most of the time They overlap, presenting as one merged entity; sometimes I am allowed to see each of them separately, or as if they were separate (which, for me, they don’t seem to be). I’ve given up trying to figure it out, because in light of an otherworldly reality where, so I’m told, the gods are prone to exchanging masks as if they were hats, what difference does it really make? I’m not trying to serve the “community” as a priestess, spokesperson, or go-to resource for either Power; I gave up all of that a long time ago, and feel much better for it. Honestly I was the only one who ever really pressured myself to do it in the first place. I am allowed to offer card readings only as much as I care to and as my finances dictate, and beyond that I’m just someone who makes stuff to sell. And shares implausible personal anecdotes with the internet.


Lucifer: a New Myth

(Putting this back up here because nothing-absolutely nothing–in my life is allowed to be simple or clear-cut anymore.)

A very long time ago, there was a little girl who could–sometimes–see and hear spirits. But the one that came through most clearly for her, and most often, was one who always seemed to be with her. He became a playmate, a companion, a second self. If she’d known the language of such things, she would have called him a familiar. He was, above all, a shapeshifter, which made him great fun to be around, much more entertaining than any of her friends at school.

Time passed, and the girl grew. Her companion grew as well, seeming to always mimic her own age more or less closely. One day, when she was a shy teenager and he was a beautiful, perfect youth with flashing eyes, he began referring to himself as Lucifer. (The girl was used to his habit of taking new names for himself—often from history or fiction–though this would prove an especially enduring one; he kept it for the next two decades, before trading it in for another—Odin–for the following fifteen years.)

A bit of research at the library, and the purchase of a book called “Paradise Lost,” told the girl it was probably not wise to admit to having “Lucifer” for a friend. Still, one day she made the mistake of telling a card reader about it (her mother’s friend, a “white witch,” had thought it would be a lark for a group of them, including the girl, to get their fortunes told). The card reader promptly told her mother the girl was a “Satanist.” Fortunately, the girl’s mother laughed this off. She was Jewish; she didn’t believe in “the Devil.”

But the book the girl had bought said Lucifer was a “fallen angel,” doomed to hell for thinking he was better than God. For the first time ever, the girl began to be wary of her companion.

“No,” Lucifer told the girl, “it isn’t like that.” And this is the story he told.

Once, when he was very young, his Father—who was a very powerful god, so powerful he liked to call himself the “only” god, though his eldest son knew that wasn’t true (he’d had a mother, after all)–decided to create a race of bipedal mammals who were meant to manage and care for the earth, with all its other creatures, when his Father wasn’t around. He based the design for them on a rudimentary type of primate, with some improvements built in—but from the start Lucifer wasn’t sure his Father had thought his project all the way through. For one thing, although these “humans” walked upright and had highly articulated hands that enabled them to manipulate objects in ways other animals could not, they were still little more than hairless apes. They seemed to have the capacity for intelligence, but they had no divine spark—which was what they would need to be able to think, to reason, to feel love and compassion, and most of all to know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong.

“You will worship my new creations, these humans,” his Father proclaimed loftily one day, and all of the other angels—all of Lucifer’s brothers and sisters—hurried to obey.

Only Lucifer objected. “But Father, they are so young! They need our guidance, not our worship.”

His father’s chin lifted. His eyes narrowed. “I am the Lord thy God, and I have spoken. You are my firstborn, my favorite son; however, you will obey my Word.”

But Lucifer stood his ground, and before long his arguments had convinced a group of his siblings and friends: the new “humans” didn’t need to be worshiped, they needed to be taught. And more than that, they needed to be enlightened. His Father had given them bodies, and the breath and water of life. But they still lacked the most crucial gift of all—the divine fire, that they might see and know themselves and know that they were children of the heavens.

And so they descended, Lucifer—the Lightbearer–and the hosts of heaven. The elder children of Heaven descended to earth, carrying with them the divine fire to inspire and enlighten their younger siblings, the “humans.” And in so descending, they disobeyed their Father and forfeited their places among the angels, but to humans they taught ethics and morals, divine law and compassion, choice and free will, language and thought, how to grow food and keep beasts, how to make clothing and shelter and medicine, how to create beauty, and all of the arts that would come to be known as the hallmarks of “civilization.” And the humans learned, and thrived, and prospered, and in true human fashion eventually came to hate and resent their angelic helpers, forgetting that they had not known these things all along, that they had not learned them all on their own.

But someplace in the heavens, Lucifer’s Father looked on with an enigmatic smile—a smile of pride, and sadness, and loss.